Cell Migration

Cell Migration

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AIM 3D Cell Culture Chips are very useful for the study of 3D cell invasion and migration. The chips are not only suitable for endpoint measurement; it can monitor real time cell migration in response to a chemoattractant gradient, making cell trajectory information more readily available. The stimuli may include chemical entities, proteins, genetic regulators, mechanobiological factors, etc.

Unlike Boyden chambers, cell migration can be monitored in real-time and the experiment can be stopped at the optimal time. Cell migration speeds can be quantified easily in AIM chips by determining the distance traveled by cells over a given duration. Compared to scratch assays, AIM chips provide an unambiguous starting point before the cells start to migrate, which yields more reliable & reproducible data. Furthermore, instead of having cells migrate through foreign materials (in Boyden chamber assays) or on a 2D plastic substrate (in scratch or cell exclusion zone assays), AIM chips allow the cell migration or invasion to take place in a 3D matrix that is most relevant to your studies.

Cell Migration/Invasion


The migration of breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231 and fibrosarcoma cells, HT1080 are used as illustrative examples in the downloadable protocol below..

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Users can submit their protocols to be referenced in this section and given due credit.


  1. Cell migration into scaffolds under co-culture conditions in a microfluidic platform. Chung S, Sudo R, Mack PJ, Wan CR, Vickerman V, Kamm RD. Lab Chip, 2009. 9 (2):269-275
  2. Concentration gradients in microfluidic 3D matrix cell culture systems. Zervantonakis I, Chung S, Sudo R, Zhang M, Charest J, Kamm R. International Journal of Micro-Nano Scale Transport, 2010. 1 (1):27-36
  3. Interstitial flow influences direction of tumor cell migration through competing mechanisms. Polacheck WJ, Charest JL, Kamm RD. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2011. 108 (27):11115-20
  4. A novel microfluidic platform for high-resolution imaging of a three-dimensional cell culture under a controlled hypoxic environment. Funamoto K, Zervantonakis IK, Liu Y, Ochs CJ, Kim C, Kamm RD. Lab Chip, 2012. 12 (22):4855-4863
  5. Hydrogels: Extracellular Matrix Heterogeneity Regulates Three-Dimensional Morphologies of Breast Adenocarcinoma Cell Invasion. Shin Y, Kim H, Han S, Won J, Jeong HE, Lee E-S, . . . Chung S. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2013. 2 (6):920-920
  6. A three-dimensional microfluidic tumor cell migration assay to screen the effect of anti-migratory drugs and interstitial flow. Kalchman J, Fujioka S, Chung S, Kikkawa Y, Mitaka T, Kamm RD, . . . Sudo R. Microfluid. Nanofluid., 2013. 14 (6):969-981
  7. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and Platelet (PF-4) Factor 4 Inputs Modulate Human Microvascular Endothelial Signaling in a Three-Dimensional Matrix Migration Context. Hang T-C, Tedford NC, Reddy RJ, Rimchala T, Wells A, White FM, . . . Lauffenburger DA. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics : MCP, 2013. 12 (12):3704-3718
  8. Mechanotransduction of fluid stresses governs 3D cell migration. Polacheck WJ, German AE, Mammoto A, Ingber DE, Kamm RD. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2014. 111 (7):2447-2452
  9. Cell Invasion Dynamics into a Three Dimensional Extracellular Matrix Fibre Network. Kim M-C, Whisler J, Silberberg YR, Kamm RD, Asada HH. PLoS Comput Biol, 2015. 11 (10):e1004535
  10. Breast Cancer Cell Invasion into a Three Dimensional Tumor-Stroma Microenvironment. Truong D, Puleo J, Llave A, Mouneimne G, Kamm RD, Nikkhah M. Sci. Rep., 2016. 6:34094
  11. Macrophage-secreted TNFα and TGFβ1 Influence Migration Speed and Persistence of Cancer Cells in 3D Tissue Culture via Independent Pathways. Li R, Hebert JD, Lee TA, Xing H, Boussommier-Calleja A, Hynes RO, . . . Kamm RD. Cancer Res., 2016. 77 (2):279-290
  12. *MBNL1 alternative splicing isoforms play opposing roles in cancer. Tabaglio T, Low DHP, Teo WKL, Goy PA, Cywoniuk P, Wollmann H… Guccione E. Life Science Alliance, Sept 2018 doi:10.26508/lsa.201800157
  13. *Quantitative screening of the effects of hyper-osmotic stress on cancer cells cultured in 2- or 3-dimensional settings. Miermont A, Lee SWL, Adriani G, Kamm RD  Scientific Reports volume 9, Article number: 13782 (2019)

Users can submit their publications to be referenced in this section.